University of Exeter Vice-Chancellor Sir Steve Smith was paid £341,000, almost six per cent more than the average Russell Group Vice-Chancellor, last year, according to information released by the Times Higher Education.
The figures, released earlier this month, show that the average pay for a university Vice-Chancellor at a Russell Group institution in 2014/15 was £321,830 including taxable benefits, £19,170 less than Sir Steve Smith received. Once pensions were included in the data, the average remuneration rose to £355,664, whilst Exeter’s own Vice-Chancellor received a grand total of £393,000 including pensions.
This data places Sir Steve Smith as the 5th highest paid Russell Group Vice-Chancellor in the UK last year. The highest paid Vice-Chancellor was the outgoing Andrew Hamilton of The University of Oxford, who received a total of £462,000 including pensions in 2014/15. This was followed by Ed Byrne (King’s College London), Alice Gast (UCL) and Sir David Eastwood (University of Birmingham), who received £458,000, £430,000 and £416,000 respectively.
On the whole, salary increases for Russell Group Vice-Chancellors were modest, with the average pay including pension just six per cent higher than in 2013/14. However, “transitional arrangements” at the University of Durham meant that their total cost of office in 2014/15 was a huge £593,000. Once Durham was removed from the data, remuneration of Russell Group leaders, including pensions, increased by just 1.9 per cent on average last year. Just five Russell Group Vice-Chancellors enjoyed a pay rise in excess of the 2 per cent awarded to rank-and-file university staff in 2014/15.
A report in March 2015 by The University and College Union (UCU) found that the average salary of a Vice-Chancellor at a UK university in 2013/14 was £260,000, with Professor Neil Gorman of Nottingham Trent University receiving the largest amount, reported to be £623,000.
Speaking about the data, a University spokesperson said: “The Vice-Chancellor’s salary is independently set by the University’s remuneration committee, which is primarily made up of lay members of the University’s Governing Body.
“As head of a highly successful institution, which is both firmly established amongst the top 10 universities in the country and now ranked in the top 100 globally, it is entirely appropriate that he receives a commensurate remuneration.”
Russell Group Tog Dogs – Russell Group VC pay (including pensions) in 2014/15.
- Andrew Hamilton (University of Oxford): £462,000
- Ed Byrne (King’s College London) £458,000
- Alice Gast (UCL) £430,000
- Sir David Eastwood (University of Birmingham) £416,000
- Sir Steve Smith (University of Exeter) £393,000
Figures rounded to the nearest £1,000